Judge Napolitano: DOJ Memo Arguing the Government Has the Right to Kill U.S. Citizens Abroad Violates Principles of the Declaration of Independence
There is new reaction from the White House after the Justice Department released a memo saying the government can kill United States citizens overseas if it believes they are terror suspects and even if they’re not involved in an active plot against the U.S.
A bipartisan group of senators is calling on President Obama to release all memos related to this policy. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “[President Obama] takes his responsibility in conducting the war against Al Qaeda as authorized by Congress in a way that is fully consistent with our Constitution and all the applicable laws.”
Judge Andrew Napolitano reacted on America Live today, saying, “This one is carrying things to an extreme that most Americans won’t recognize.”
He explained that a “fair interpretation” of this 16-page DOJ document and Jay Carney’s interpretation of the memo is that the president or a “high ranking U.S. government official” can kill anyone no matter what the laws say.
One of the biggest concerns, Judge Napolitano suggested, is that the memo is written so vaguely that it could permit the president to kill Americans within the United States.
“That is nowhere justifiable under the Constitution, nowhere justifiable under federal law,” Napolitano argued. “In fact, federal law and the Constitution are to the opposite. Unless you are actually pulling a trigger or are in moments of pulling that trigger or dropping a bomb, the government has an obligation to do its best to arrest you and charge you with a crime and prosecute you before it can indiscriminately kill you.”
The judge addressed the slippery slope argument, saying, “This power used today against an unpopular target might be used in the future by another president against a person the president doesn’t like but as to whom there’s no moral justification for pursuing whatsoever.”
He added, “This frivolous use of language by this administration and then claiming they have the right to use force to stop dead in their tracks the people who fit into these categories violates the principles of the Declaration of Independence and violates the supremacy of the Constitution which they’ve taken an oath to uphold. […] The government gets is powers from the consent of the governed. Do you know anybody who consented to the government doing this?”
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